The Museum of Modern Art, Floor T2, Theater 2
Pencil Skirt interpreted for Items: Is Fashion Modern? by Bobby Doherty. Copyright Bobby Doherty.

In conjunction with Items: Is Fashion Modern?, this event features presenters from a diverse range of perspectives whose often-hidden roles are critical in shaping the contemporary fashion industry. Inspired by Fashion Is Spinach, a well-known book by Elizabeth Hawes published in 1938 and an insider’s critique of the fashion scene, this program provides insight into the ways in which fashion items are designed, manufactured, marketed, distributed, worn, and discarded today, by listening to and engaging with stories from fashion’s silent partners.

A reception and an opportunity to see the exhibition will follow the program.

Tickets ($20; $15 members and Corporate members; $5 students, seniors, and staff of other museums) can be purchased online, at the information desk, or at the Film desk on the day of the program.

This event will be live-streamed.


9:30–10:00 Welcome coffee

10:00–10:30 Opening remarks
Paola Antonelli, Senior Curator, Department of Architecture and Design, and Director, Research and Development, The Museum of Modern Art

10:30–11:15 Raw Materials
Sourcing materials, whether naturally harvested or artificially created
Caterina A. Conti, Ambassador, Textile Exchange
Fiorenzo G. Omenetto, Professor of Engineering, Tufts University
Moderator: Nadine Farag, Founder, One Who Dresses

11:15–11:30 Processing
From raw to finished and from fiber to textile: the steps in the conversion process
Glenn Adamson, Senior Scholar, Yale University

11:30 –12:15 Liftoff
Making the business of fashion financially viable
Charles Elliott Harbison, Founder and Creative Director, Harbison
Wen Zhou, CEO and Cofounder, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Moderator: Shirley Cook, Founder and former CEO, Proenza Schouler.

Audience Q&A

12:15 –12:45 Creative Direction
The making and remaking of a singular label
Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne, Founders and Creative Direction, Public School
Interviewer: Lynn Yaeger, Contributing Editor, Vogue and

12:45 –1:45 Lunch (on your own)

1:45–2:15 Prototype
Realizing the first sample
Nicole Miller, Founder and Designer, Nicole Miller
Interviewer: Paola Antonelli

2:15–3:05 Trial
Gauging the market’s response to the prototype
Felita Harris, Senior VP Global Sales, Alexander Wang
Julie Gilhart, fashion consultant
Clara Jeon, Cofounder, Chapter 2
Moderator: Dario Calmese, photographer, writer, and visual director

3:05–3:35 Production
From prototype to product
Renee Peters, model, blogger, and advocate
Peter W. Chan, Assistant Professor of Production Management, Fashion Institute of Technology
Moderator: Michelle Millar Fisher, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Architecture and Design, The Museum of Modern Art

Audience Q&A

3:40–4:15 Licensing and Forecasting
From product to markets, and from markets to trends
Andrea Bell, Director of Insight, WGSN
Brian Mims, Creative Director, PVH licensing
Moderator: Stephanie Kramer

Audience Q&A

4:20–4:40 Coffee

4:40–5:30 Retail and Circulation
Where fashion meets people
Steven Alan, Founder and Owner, Steven Alan
Melody Cohen, Founder, United Apparel Liquidators
Susan Scafidi, Founder and Director, Fashion Law Institute
Rie Yano, Cofounder and CEO, Material World
Moderator: Michelle Millar Fisher

Audience Q&A

5:30–6:30 Final debate
“This House believes that we should stop buying clothes.”
Paul Dillinger, Vice President, Head of Global Product Innovation for Levi Strauss & Co.
Sarah Labowitz, researcher, writer, and teacher

6:30–7:30 Finale
Reception and viewing of Items: Is Fashion Modern?
Sixth floor

Education at MoMA is made possible by a partnership with Volkswagen of America.

Major support for Adult and Academic Programs is provided by the Estate of Susan Sabel.

Generous funding is provided by endowments established by Agnes Gund and Daniel Shapiro, The Junior Associates of The Museum of Modern Art, Walter and Jeanne Thayer, and by the gifts of Alan Kanzer. Additional support is provided by the Annual Education Fund.

This event accompanies Items: Is Fashion Modern?.